Note: This is the page for Jose Pena, the major league player and minor league manager. For other players with the same name, click here.
José Peña Gutierrez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 190 lb.
- Debut June 1, 1969
- Final Game July 14, 1972
- Born December 3, 1942 in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua Mexico
José Peña went 249-190 in 23 years as a pitcher. He made his professional baseball debut at the age of 18 with the 1961 Aguascalientes Tigres, going 4-6 with a 2.96 ERA for the Mexican Center League team. He made his Mexican League debut a year later with the Mexico City Tigers. He had a couple of rocky years as a swingman (4-5, 4.57 and 6-10, 5.56) before improving to 10-11, 3.91 in 1964. The next season, 1965, he began to establish himself as a star when the 22-year-old went 16-13 with a 3.31 ERA. He struck out 137 in 226 innings, but walked 101 batters. The 1966 season was a fine one for Jose, who went 19-7 with a 2.80 ERA and 161 strikeouts (96 walks) in 235 frames. Peña tied for second in the Liga in victories, one behind Julious Grant.
The Buffalo Bisons drafted Peña in the AAA phase of the 1966 Rule V Draft and he went 4-3 with a 3.03 ERA for Buffalo in the Cincinnati Reds' chain in 1967. In 1968 he went 11-14 with a 3.15 ERA for the Indianapolis Indians. He got a brief call-up with the Reds in 1969 but spent most of the season back in Mexico, starring for the Reynosa Broncos. He was 11-5 with a 1.35 for Reynosa that year but didn't hurl enough innings to qualify for the league lead.
In 1970 Peña went to the Los Angeles Dodgers after being taken in the 1969 Rule V Draft and went 4-3 with 4 saves and an 87 ERA+ as a L.A. reliever. He put up similar numbers for LA in 1971, splitting both years between the Dodgers and the Spokane Indians. In 1972 Peña went 10-9 with a 4.27 ERA for the Albuquerque Dukes and also appeared in his final major league game.
Peña returned to Mexico in 1973 and resumed his swingman duties, going 11-15 with 10 saves for the Puebla Angels. He struck out 195 batters in 201 innings, leading the Liga in strikeouts. He slipped backwards in 1974 (9-12, 4.17) but had his best year in 1975. With the Cardenales de Tabasco Pena went 21-12 with a 1.85 ERA and completed 25 of 30 starts (he also made 12 relief appearances, saving 4 games). He struck out 199 (walked 102) in 287 innings and led the Liga in wins and K's and finishing third in ERA.
José continued to pitch well, spending three strong years with the Cordoba Cafeteros. In 1976 he went 18-7 with 6 saves, a 2.27 ERA and 18 complete games. He also set a Liga record with 18 wild pitches that season, but his mark would be broken two years later. A year later the 34-year-old veteran went 21-10, had a 2.13 ERA and completed 17 more games. He tied for second in the Liga in wins, one behind Guadalupe Salinas. Peña's fine four-year run ended with a 22-9 season in 1978 in which he set a career high for wins. He had 2.19 ERA, completed 24 of 32 starts and struck out 164. He tied Tomas Armas for the Liga lead in victories.
Peña was injured in 1979 and went just 0-2 with a 6.83 ERA and lasted only 29 innings in 9 appearances (8 starts). He walked 21 while fanning just 4. He bounced back a bit, going 10-13 in 1980 and 12-10 with a 3.62 ERA in 1981 but his best days were behind him. In 1982 he was 10-1 with a 3.19 ERA for the Indios de Ciudad Juarez and led the league in winning percentage. At the age of 40 he was 12-8 with a 3.32 as a regular starter for the Tigers in 1983, returning to the club 17 years after his last season with them. He wrapped up his career with the 1984 Leon Braves, going 2-4 with a 5.89 ERA.
Overall in Mexico Peña went 214-154 with a 3.09 ERA. He struck out 1,832 batters in 2,975 2/3 innings south of the border, walked 1,198, hit 161 batters and uncorked 150 wild pitches. As of 2000, Peña ranked 9th in the Mexican League in innings, 6th in wins, 10th in losses, 11th in complete games (174), tied for 10th in shutouts (35), 7th in strikeouts, 3rd in walks, 1st in hit batsmen and 1st in wild pitches. The wild flamethrower might have finished higher in some areas had he not spent five years in the USA.
Sources include Viva Beisbol newsletter by Bruce Baskin, Old-Time Professional Baseball Player Database by Pat Doyle and The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros